Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jadotville film for local screening

People may be interested to know that there will be a special screening of the film ‘Siege of Jadotville’ in Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge on Thursday 6 October, 2016 at 8pm, writes Mary Orford. To book phone Riverbank 045 448327 or online.

The film, based on the book ‘The Siege at Jadotville: The Irish Army’s Forgotten Battle’ by Declan Power, was well received at the Galway Film Fleadh and will be on limited release at some cinemas around the country and available via Netflix from 10 October. However, if you want to see it on a big screen, there is a local screening.

Meanwhile, writes Brian Byrne, Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe today presented military citations to soldiers from the midlands who fought in the siege, which occurred in the Congo in 1961.

Some 60 former soldiers and their families attended the ceremony in Custume Barracks in Athlone. The event formally recognises the bravery of the soldiers 55 years after they were attacked while on UN duty in the region.

A combined force of some 5,000 white mercenaries, Belgian settlers and local tribesmen attacked the Irish peacekeepers while they attended Mass, but were held off over the next six days until ammunition ran out and they were taken prisoner. No Irish soldier was killed in the engagement, but they inflicted heavy casualties on their attackers.

However, when they came home, the Jadotville soldiers were treated with a degree of derision because they had become POWs for a month. Ever since then they have been fighting for recognition for the actual heroic activity of the men and their officers.

Earlier this year, local former soldier Billy Redmond took part in a report on KFM radio about the incident — he was stationed in another part of the Congo at the time.